Here are other pages of Interest about skepticism and or Atheism!
from the (Amplified Bible) makes very telling statement about those who deny God’s existence.
“THE [empty-headed] fool has said in his heart, There is no God.”
It’s one thing to be a Skeptic about all things dealing with the Supernatural as I am, because it’s just smart to investigate the facts before believing them.
BUT IT’S SOMETHING ELSE TO BE A LIAR, AND CHEAT THE EVIDENCE BECAUSE IT’S JUST TOO GOOD TO HIDE!
Now FALSE Religion is very guilty of this in the reverse. They lie and cheat the evidence by ADDING to what God said to create false teachings and bind their followers in a web of decite!
Radical Skepticism Lies and Cheats the REAL Evidence of Jesus by taking away the facts that hold the whole together, thus making the gospel of little or no effect.
THE PROBLEM WITH THESE SKEPTICAL ADHERENTS IS THAT THEY WILL NOT PROPERLY INTERPRET THE VAST EVIDENCE IN FRONT OF THEM.
THEY always “DISMISS IT OUT OF HAND” and YOU in turn MISS out on THE REAL EVIDENCE.
THAT IS NO WAY TO INVESTIGATE THIS VERY IMPORTANT SUBJECT-
JESUS IS VERY REAL.
And because He is a real historical person that means that every word he said just might be true also….
THE SUPERNATURAL IS A VERY REAL THING-
DON’T BE FOOLED BY FOOLS!
The ancient historical record provides examples of writers, philosophers and historians who lived during or not long after the time Jesus is believed to have lived and who testify to the fact that he was a real person.
We will look at what some of these people have said.
lived from A.D. 55 to A.D. 120.
He was a Roman historian and has been described as the greatest historian of Rome, noted for his integrity and moral uprightness. His most famous works are the Annals and the Histories.
The Annals relate the historical narrative from Augustus’ death in A.D.14 to Nero’s death in A.D. 68.
The Histories begin their narrative after Nero’s death and finish with Domitian’s death in A.D. 96.
In his section describing Nero’s decision to blame the fire of Rome on the Christians, Tacitus affirms that the founder of Christianity, a man he calls Chrestus (a common misspelling of Christ, which was Jesus’ surname), was executed by Pilate, the procurator of Judea during the reign of the Roman emperor Tiberias.
Tacitus was hostile to Christianity because in the same paragraph he describes Christus’ or Christ’s death, he describes Christianity as a pernicious superstition.
It would have therefore been in his interests to declare that Jesus had never existed, but he did not, and perhaps he did not because he could not without betraying the historical record.
Lucian of Samosata
was a Greek satirist of the latter half of the second century. He therefore lived within two hundred years of Jesus. Lucian was hostile to Christianity and openly mocked it.
He particularly objected to the fact that Christians worshipped a man. He does not mention Jesus’ name, but the reference to the man Christians worship is a reference to Jesus.
was a Roman historian and a court official in Emperor Hadrian’s government. In his Life of Claudius he refers to Claudius expelling Jews from Rome on account of their activities on behalf of a man Suetonius calls Chrestus [another misspelling of Christus or Christ].
Pliny the Younger
was the Governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor (AD. 112). He was responsible for executing Christians for not worshipping or bowing down to a statue of the emperor Trajan. In a letter to the emperor Trajan, he describes how the people on trial for being Christians would describe how they sang songs to Christ because he was a god.
Thallus and Phlegon
were ancient historians and both confirmed the fact that the land went dark when Jesus was crucified. This parallels what the Bible said happened when Jesus died.
after 70 A.D., Mara Bar-Sarapion, who was probably a Stoic philosopher, wrote a letter to his son in which he describes how the Jews executed their King. Claiming to be a king was one of the charges the religious authorities used to scare Pontius Pilate into agreeing to execute Jesus.
was a Jewish historian who was born in either 37 or 38 AD and died some time after 100 AD. He wrote the Jewish Antiquites and in one famous passage described Jesus as a wise man, a doer of wonderful works and calls him the Christ.
He also affirmed that Jesus was executed by Pilate and actually rose from the dead!
The four Gospels are the four accounts of Jesus’ life, which are contained in the New Testament part of the Bible.
Historians will tell you that the closer an historical document is written to the time of the events it describes, the generally more reliable it is as a source of information about those events.
Matthew’s Gospel account of Jesus’ life is now reckoned to have been written sometime between AD 70 and AD 80.
Mark’s Gospel is dated between AD. 50 and AD. 65.
Luke’s Gospel is dated in the early AD 60s and John’s Gospel sometime between AD 80 and 100.
If Jesus died sometime in the AD 30s, it is clear that Mark, Luke and Matthew wrote their Gospels within living memory of Jesus’ death. John’s Gospel comes later and probably outside of living memory for most as John lived to an unusually old age for the ancient period, but the accuracy of his Gospel was verified no doubt by those who read the earlier Gospels.
Another feature of the Gospels is that they were written by men who either knew Jesus personally, or who knew people who themselves knew Jesus personally.
Matthew was a former tax collector who became a disciple of Jesus. Mark was a close associate of Simon Peter, who is regarded as being Jesus’ most prominent disciple whilst Jesus was on the earth.
Luke was a close associate of Paul who is the most famous of Christian missionaries and who wrote the largest contribution to the New Testament. Paul, in turn, was a close colleague of Simon Peter.
John was the former fisherman who became the closest disciple of Jesus. The accounts of such men need to be considered at least seriously!
EVIDENCE FOR THE EXISTENCE OF JESUS OF NAZARETH!!
In addition to the secular historian Josephus providing significant evidence to the life of Jesus, there were other contemporary historians who were secular non-Christian writers with no motive to fabricate events.
Tacitus, a Roman historian, wrote the following in his Annals, c. AD 115, which refer to what the Roman Emperor Nero did after the great fire of Rome which occured c. AD 64:
“Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace.
Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.”
Annals 15 -44
Exitiabilis is the latin word for mischievous. It means destructive, fatal, deadly.
Tacitus was stating that it was “a destructive or fatal or deadly superstition”.
By effectively calling Christianity evil, it is obvious that he was not a Christian. It is important to note that Tacitus is not referring to the death of Jesus as superstition either.
Tacitus wrote his history of Rome covering the death of Augustus to the death of Domitian,c.14-96 AD.
He used earlier works by historians cross referencing them with each other. He sought to verify his facts, something unusual in the writing of the time.
a Greek writer of the 2nd Century provides further evidence:
“Phlegon mentioned the eclipse which took place during the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus and no other (eclipse); it is clear that he did not know from his sources about any (similar) eclipse in previous times . . . and this is shown by the historical account of Tiberius Caesar.”
Origen and Philopon
De. opif. mund. II21
“And with regard to the eclipse in the time of Tiberius Caesar, in whose reign Jesus appears to have been crucified, and the great earthquakes which then took place …”
Origen Against Celsus
Another Roman writer who was familiar with Christ and his followers is Suetonius (A.D. 75-160).
Suetonius considered Christ (Chrestus) as a Roman insurgent who stirred up seditions under the reign of Claudius (A.D. 41-54):
“Judaeos, impulsore Chresto, assidue tumultuantes (Claudius) Roma expulit” (Clau., xxv).
The Jewish Talmud, another ancient document written shortly after Christ’s life on Earth refers to Jesus having been crucified on the eve of Passover.
The gospel records:
What about the gospel accounts?
Importantly, they were written by eyewitnesses. Lee Strobel in his book “The case for Christ” rightfully states that the:
“eyewitnesses who wrote about Jesus were preaching to people who lived at the same time and in the same area that Jesus lived.
This is important, because if the disciples were exaggerating or rewriting history, their audiences would have known it and called them on it..”
By the end of the nineteenth century, archaeological discoveries had confirmed the accuracy of the New Testament manuscripts.
Discoveries of early papyri were consistent with documentation from the time of Christ to later manuscripts. In addition to the papyri discoveries, an abundance of other manuscripts came to light.
Over 24,000 copies of early New Testament manuscripts are known to be in existence today.
In fact, as historical records, the gospel accounts can be considered to be some of the the most reliable ever.
It is an amazing thing to see just how SOME SKEPTICS TWIST HISTORY FROM SIMPLE STRAIGHT FORWARD WORDING TO “INCLUDE” THINGS THE ORIGINAL WRITERS NEVER EVEN THOUGHT ABOUT AT THE TIME.
But let’s face the facts:
Dishonesty is the only out when the evidence is as over-powering as it is with God and his word. The only way to fight it is to MAKE-UP and Lie about where it stands.
This is what people do when faced with insurmountable historical evidences.
EVIDENCE FOR THE SUPERNATURAL IS SO ABUNDANT BOTH IN HISTORY AND IN THE BIBLE THAT FOR ANYONE TO DENY IT EXISTS THEY WOULD HAVE TO “ERADICATE LARGE AMOUNTS OF HISTORICAL RECORDS” IN ORDER TO BELIEVE SUCH NONSENSE!
I’M NOT SAYING THAT “ALL SUPERNATURAL OCCURRENCES” ARE REAL,THEY MOST CERTAINLY ARE NOT
IN FACT I WOULD GO AS FAR AS TO SAY ….THAT OUT OF 100% OF OCCURRENCES IN THE WORLD ONLY 20% OR LESS ARE REAL.
The true HONEST skeptic does not “THROW OUT THE 20% WITH THE 90% AS ONE AND THE SAME!
I can speak to this because I personally have seen with my own eyes many supernatural events that I cannot explain any NATURAL WAY, so to be so hateful of anything “SUPER (ABOVE the) NATURAL REALM” is simply fear of what we can’t explain
This is not being Skeptical this is being “PARANOID OF GOD” and thus MISSING THE WHOLE POINT OF WHO GOD IS AND WHAT HE IS HERE FOR IN THE FIRST PLACE!
There are numerous reports around the world of the power of God operating through prayer in the name of Jesus Christ happening today.
God wants to reveal Jesus Christ as the only way to Heaven through a demonstration of who He is with the operation of signs, wonders, and miracles.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13: 8 (KJV)
The evidence for Jesus Christ is truly overwhelming and demands a profound choice for each one of us!
The Resurrection of
Pastor Daniel Ekechukwu
Now I already know that my skeptic friends are busy looking up this story to find some skeptic that’s wrote a story against it!
And you know what?
They’ll find a lot of fluff about it in that vein but the TRUTH, that pesky TRUTH will prevail every time, the evidence is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Pastor Ekechukwu was from a city called Onitsha (Nigeria), where he was the pastor of Power Chapel Evangelical Church.
Nigerian pastor Daniel Ekechukwu physically died in the late evening of Friday, November 30th, 2001, was dead for at least 42 hours, visited heaven and hell during the time of his physical death, and was raised from the dead between 3:50 P.M. and 5:15 P.M. on Sunday, December 2nd, 2001 in the basement of the Grace of God Mission, located in Onitsha, Nigeria.
Although some of what happened to pastor Ekechukwu is certainly extra-biblical, none of it is unbiblical. Indeed, neither the story of pastor Ekechukwu’s resurrection nor the story of your salvation is found in the Bible, making them both extra-biblical, but neither should be discounted on that basis!
On Thursday, December 29th, 2001, Pastor Daniel Ekechukwu and his wife, Nneka, had a misunderstanding that degenerated into an argument that resulted in her slapping him. He was greatly offended by this incident, to the point of not acknowledging her greeting the next morning, which was, according to what pastor Daniel said to me, an attempt on her part to begin to reconcile. Pastor Daniel admitted that throughout the day of November 30th, he angrily thought about how he would put his wife in her place when he returned home. He would not, however, make it home that Friday.
Daniel Ekechukwu and his wife, Nneka
Daniel Ekechukwu and his wife, Nneka
As he was driving home that evening, the brakes on his 20-year old Mercedes 230E failed as he was heading down a steep hill, and his car crashed into a concrete pillar that was built to prevent cars from going over a steep embankment. He was not wearing a seat belt (few Nigerians do), and his chest hit very forcibly against the steering wheel and its knob, apparently doing damage to his internal organs, as he was soon vomiting up blood and having difficulty breathing (not to mention that he soon lost all signs of life).
Daniel was not able to remove himself from his car, but frantic on-lookers pulled him out. One bystander volunteered her car while another bystander offered to drive him to St. Charles Borromeo Hospital, not far away on the outskirts of Onitsha.
Within minutes of their arrival at the hospital, a doctor began administering emergency treatment, but Daniel knew his body was not responding to it. He began praying the prayer of a man who knows he is going to die, asking God to forgive him of all his sins so that he would be ready to stand before the Lord. He also sent for his wife, Nneka, with whom he had refused to speak when he left his home earlier that day. She fainted upon hearing the news of her husband’s accident and condition, but when revived was taken by a Christian neighbor to the hospital. Daniel’s friend, Ede Samuel (whom I interviewed at length) was with her and essentially witnessed everything that transpired over the next three days.
Upon seeing Daniel in critical condition when she arrived at St. Charles Borromeo hospital, Daniel’s wife burst into tears, begging her husband not to die and leave her. The doctor admitted that there was nothing he could do to save Daniel’s life (keep in mind this was a Third World hospital), and so Daniel requested that he be transferred by ambulance to Umezuruike Hospital at Owerri, where his family doctor practiced. The Umezuruike hospital was 80 km away. His wife arranged for the ambulance, and it was on the way to Umezuruike Hospital that Daniel died.
Daniel was lying in the back of the ambulance while his wife was in the front passenger seat. He began to feel that he was not going to survive, and so he called for his wife to come to him. He began to say goodbye, give her instructions about certain church and personal documents, and admonished her to take care of their son and his church. She began sobbing greatly and amidst her tears strongly rebuked him for such negative statements. He was a man of God and should have faith, and not be speaking of dying!
As she was speaking, Daniel saw two large angels who were completely white, including the pupils of their eyes. The angels were so large that Daniel later wondered how they fit inside the ambulance. One was as big as the ambulance. Daniel tried to speak to the angels, but one held his finger to his lips, motioning for his silence. The angels lifted him on either side, and Daniel realized that there were now two of himself. The angels were holding him under each arm of his spirit man (which was perfectly whole), while his broken body was lying below. Once they left the ambulance, Daniel became oblivious to the natural world.
When the ambulance arrived at Umezurike Hospital with Daniel’s body, it was now late at night (Friday, November 30th), and Daniel’s family doctor was not there. A member of the medical staff, however, examined his body and sadly told Nneka that her husband was dead and there was nothing that could be done.
So they drove to the Federal Medical Center in Owerri, but found no doctor there either. Finally they drove to the Eunice Clinic, and there Daniel was confirmed to be dead by Doctor Josse Annebunwa. There was no breathing, no heartbeat or pulse, and Daniel’s pupils were fixed. The doctor said that there was nothing he could do. A death certificate was issued at 11:30 P.M., November 30, 2001.
They then drove Daniel’s corpse to his father’s house in a nearby village, and naturally Daniel’s father and other family members were heartbroken at the sight of Daniel’s dead body, weeping profusely. Daniel’s father instructed them to take his body to Ikeduru General Hospital Mortuary, not far away. They arrived there around 1:00 A.M. on Saturday morning. The resident mortician, Mr. Barlington Manu, received the corpse. The primitive Nigerian mortuary where Daniel’s body was taken had no cold storage facilities, and so the mortician injected embalming chemicals between Daniel ’s fingers and into his feet. The full embalming would be administered in the morning. With the help of a staff member he laid Daniel’s body on a mortuary slab between two other corpses.
Ikeduru General Hospital Mortuary, is now known as Inyishi Community Hospital Mortuary. Mr. Darlington Manu, above, is the mortician who had partially embalmed Daniel in the very early morning hours of Saturday, December 1, 2001.
evidence Daniel Ekechukwu
Above is the Ledger where Mr. Manu enters important information concerning every corpse that is brought to his mortuary. It contained hundreds of entries. Daniel Ekechukwu’s name is listed there, and the date his corpse was received was recorded as November 30, 2001. The date recorded that the corpse was taken by the relatives was December 2, 2001.
The next morning, when the mortician attempted to cut Daniel’s inner thigh in order to insert a tube by which he could inject more embalming fluid, he experienced a strange shock that pushed him away from the corpse. This did not surprise him, as he had experienced similar forces before and attributed them to occult powers (such things are widely practiced in Africa and highly respected by most African pastors whom I know). After a second attempt and a second shock, he concluded that Daniel must have been a member of a powerful secret society. He assumed, however, that after some occult sacrifices and incantations the powers in the corpse would subside, and he could then complete his work. (This mortician, of course, was not a Christian, but converted after Daniel’s resurrection.) Incidentally, Daniel said that people could smell the embalming chemicals coming out of his body for two weeks after his resurrection. They would hug him and hold their noses!
Around 2:00 A.M. Saturday morning, the mortician, who lived next to the mortuary, was disturbed by songs of worship coming from inside his mortuary, which stopped as soon as approached the mortuary doorway. Upon searching for the music’s source in his mortuary, he noticed light emanating from the face of Daniel’s corpse. This completely unnerved him.
Later on Saturday, he again attempted to cut Daniel’s inner thigh in order to insert an injection tube, and met with the same resistance as before. That night the sounds of worship again emanated from the mortuary.(Don’t assume that Daniel’s body would have been buried the day after his death. Nigerians often bury their dead weeks after death has taken place.)
All of this so disturbed the mortician that he located Daniel’s father to inform him of what had been happening and to request that he remove Daniel’s corpse from his mortuary. Just before the mortician’s arrival, Daniel’s wife experienced a dream in which she saw the face of her husband, and he was asking her why they had left him in the mortuary. He stated that he was not dead and that she should take him to Onitsha where German evangelist Reinhard Bonnke was preaching. She determined to do so, even though her family thought she was out of her mind. It was now Saturday evening, and Daniel had been dead for 24 hours. The family finally yielded, but purchased a casket and brought funeral clothing for the mortician to dress Daniel. The mortician, however, had to cut the clothing in order to clothe Daniel because his body was as stiff as a board. An ambulance was hired on Sunday morning, December 2nd, and the casket that contained Daniel’s body was taken to Grace of God Mission (a large church) in Onitsha, about 1½ hours away, where evangelist Reinhard Bonnke was preaching at an afternoon church dedication service. They arrived at the church around 1:00 P.M.
The church grounds were being protected by swarms of federal and state security guards for the sake of Reinhard Bonnke, who has received many death threats, and who is hated by Muslims all over Africa. (Not to mention the fact that the World Trade Center had been destroyed by Muslim hijackers just weeks before.) For this reason, the security guards would not allow the casket to be brought onto church grounds, thinking it might actually contain explosives. Daniel’s wife loudly pleaded with them, and opened the casket to show them her dead husband, which resulted in their mocking and even flogging her because of her persistence. She caused such a disturbance that the senior pastor was notified, and his son instructed that Daniel’s wife be permitted to bring his body to the church without the casket, and that it be placed in the basement. Daniel’s body was laid there on two tables pushed together in a Sunday School room.
Some believers gathered around Daniel’s body and prayed while Reinhard Bonnke, who knew nothing of the dead body in the basement, preached and prayed. Eventually, it was noticed that Daniel’s corpse twitched, and then irregular breathing started. (By this time, Reinhard Bonnke had left the premises entirely.) The attendant believers began praying fervently, and because his body was stiff and cold, they began massaging his neck, arms and legs. When those in the sanctuary got word that a dead man below was coming back to life, the basement room was soon jammed with people. Suddenly Daniel sneezed and arose with a jump. It was somewhere between 3:50 and 5:15 PM on Sunday afternoon. Daniel had died Friday night around 10:00 PM. He slowly became fully coherent over the next few hours.
Do you doubt this account? A report on the web site of Christ of all Nations declares:
Here are some hard facts that won’t go away. For two days Daniel did not breathe, his heart had stopped beating. It was in a hot climate, not suspended animation in an ice chamber. He had been injected with a harsh chemical to keep back mortification. As a corpse he was carted around for hours, pulled about, and lay in an airless narrow coffin for hours. He should have had severe brain damage, but he is alive now without any ill effects.
This is no unsupported claim of bringing someone to life privately, as in a house. Here was a public event, an open demonstration of revival from death. If anyone has to be named, it is Nneka. Her incurable faith alone prevented Daniel’s burial simply to bring him where she was convinced God could bring him back to life. She regarded Reinhard Bonnke as a man of God and that in the atmosphere of faith where he ministered this miracle was possible. The faith of Nneka dictated the whole event and her faith was honored. By whom? Who honored her faith? If not God, who else?
I would add to this defense that if the incident was a hoax, I doubt that pastor Ekechukwa would have invented the story of what happened to him when he was escorted to hell, which I will relate next. Pastor Daniel’s message is now one of repentance to the church, to prepare the church to stand before Jesus, and many have indeed repented after hearing his testimony. If his story is all a hoax, the result of this hoax is real holiness.
Finally, the ministry of Reinhard Bonnke certainly needs no promotional hoax, as His Nigerian crusades are already attended by millions. He in fact states that he had nothing to do with the miracle, and wasn’t aware of the dead body in the basement of the church where he was preaching.
As amazing as the story of his death and resurrection is, what pastor Daniel experienced after his death is even more amazing. To him, what he experienced between his death and resurrection could have taken only fifteen minutes, even though he was physically dead for almost two days. After he was lifted from his body by the two angels in the ambulance, he soon found himself momentarily alone, but soon joined by a different angel. Daniel stated that if he was confused about something that he saw or experienced, or if he had a question in his mind, this angel immediately gave him the answer. This angel first told him that they were going to Paradise. There was no time expended in getting anywhere the angel took him. As soon as the angel said they were going to Paradise, they were there.
Daniel stood with the angel and watched a multitude of worshipping people who were dressed in sparkling white garments. He immediately thought they were angels, but the escorting angel told him that they were human beings who, “while they lived on earth, served God and had their faith focused on Christ Jesus and lived righteously.” These people were all ageless and raceless. That is, none appeared to be young or middle-aged or elderly, and none had any racial distinctives in their appearance. All were focused on a very bright light, and all worshipped in perfect unison. They would all lift their hands at once and bow at once “as if a sort of electronic device was activating them.” (This same phenomena was described to my wife by an elderly Haitian pastor who died for a short time, but was sent back to earth to finish his work.)
Daniel did notice one man who looked elderly among the multitude, and the thought occurred to him that perhaps that man was God, but the escorting angel immediately corrected him. The man was father Abraham.
Daniel longed to join the worshippers, but the angel told him that there were other things Daniel needed to see. He told Daniel they would next go to see Jesus’ promise to His followers, the mansion He had prepared for those whom “He would find righteous on the last day.” Immediately they were there.
Daniel said there is no earthly way to describe what he saw. The mansion had no apparent end to its height or width. It continually moved, and each room also revolved in some manner. It was made of something that was transparent like glass, and the floors appear to be made of light. Daniel didn’t see anybody in the great mansion, but heard beautiful singing. Wondering where the music was coming from, the angel immediately pointed him to the many flowers around the mansion. When Daniel looked at them more closely, they were moving and swaying and singing praise to God!
The angel told Daniel, “The mansion is ready but the saints of God are not. Jesus is being delayed because Christians in the church are not ready yet.” (This is entirely scriptural; see 2 Peter 3:12.)
Next the angel took Daniel to hell, and they stood at the gate. When the angel lifted his hand and let it fall again, the gate opened, and Daniel could immediately hear the awful sounds of people screaming and weeping, but everything in hell was in total blackness. Then a bright light shone from the angel, and Daniel could see many groups of people in anguish. He told me of three specific groups that went through endless cycles of torment, forever reaping in hell what they had sown on earth. One group consisted of people who would eat their own flesh and then vomit it out onto the ground, at which time the vomit would fly back onto their bodies and turn back into flesh that they would eat again. The angel told Daniel these people were those who had eaten human flesh as an occult practice. Another group, who had stolen land from others while on earth, endlessly dug rock-hard ground with their bare hands. Another group, former fornicators and adulterers, endlessly mutilated their sexual organs, which after being destroyed, would be regenerated only to be mutilated again.
As I heard Daniel relate this scene, I couldn’t help but thinking of how many times scr1pture declares that God will repay every person according to his or her deeds, and also promises that everyone will reap precisely what they have sown. I remembered the story Jesus told of Lazarus and the rich man. In the afterlife, their roles were exactly reversed. The rich man longed for a drip of water from Lazarus just as Lazarus had previously longed for a crumb from the rich man’s table.
Pastor Daniel also saw the former military dictator of Nigeria. He saw a Christian who had dabbled in occult practices and fallen away from the Lord, and a pastor who had embezzled money from his own church and also lied about it. The former pastor pleaded that he would return the money if Daniel could help him escape hell. Although there were different kinds of tortures, all of the people in hell writhed in agony under an unseen force that would wrench them repeatedly. All of them were shouting, wailing and gnashing their teeth. Pastor Daniel told me that if every Christian could see what he saw, there would be no need to preach the gospel, as every Christian would become the gospel.
The most surprising thing is what happened next. The escorting angel told pastor Daniel, “If your record is to be called here, you will in no doubt be thrown into hell.” Pastor Daniel immediately defended himself saying, “I am a man of God! I serve Him with all my heart!” But a Bible immediately appeared in the angel’s hand, and it was opened to Matthew 5 where Jesus warned that if one calls his brother a fool he is guilty enough to go into the hell of fire (see Matt. 5:21-22). Pastor Daniel knew he was guilty for theangry words spoken to his wife. The angel also reminded him that Jesus promised that God will not forgive our sins if we do not forgive others (see Matt. 6:14-15) because we will reap what we have sown. Only those who are merciful will obtain mercy (Matt 5:7). The angel told Daniel that the prayers he prayed as he was dying in the hospital were of no effect, because he refused to forgive his wife even when she attempted to reconcile on the morning of his fatal accident.
Pastor Daniel wept at this revelation, but the angel told him not to cry, because God was going to send him back to the earth to grant the rich man’s request (see Luke 16:27-30). A man would come back from the dead and warn people of hell. The angel said that Daniel’s resurrection would serve as a sign and be the last warning for this generation.
Finally, pastor Daniel was led to the top of a mountain, at which there was a large hole full of darkness. There the escorting angel handed Daniel to a man standing there whom he didn’t recognize at first, but soon realized it was German evangelist Reinhard Bonnke. The angel told Daniel that man would help him spread the gospel of salvation.
Both Daniel and Rev. Bonnke fell into the hole, and that is when pastor Daniel jumped up from the table where he lay at the Grace of God mission. He was back in his body after having been dead for at least 42 hours, almost two full days.
As you may imagine, pastor Daniel greatly emphasizes in his preaching the need to forgive those who have wronged us, lest anyone suffer the fate he almost suffered. How important it is that we obey Jesus’ commandments regarding forgiveness and walking in love toward each other, as well as all the rest of His commandments. It is indeed time for the church to repent and “pursue peace with all men, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). Do not listen to false teachers who say that holiness is not essential to ultimately gain eternal life. Jesus warned that only those who do the will of His Father will enter the kingdom of heaven (see Matt. 7:11). Do not listen to teachers who say that if you are once saved you are guaranteed that you will always be saved. Jesus warned His closest disciples (see Matt. 24:1-3) of the possibility of their not being ready when He returned and being cast into hell (see Matt. 24:42-25:46).
Keep in mind that pastor Ekechukwu did not stand condemned just because of his one sin of unforgiveness. There were other sins he was confessing in the hospital as he was dying, but his unforgiveness annulled his prayers in which he was asking for forgiveness. If we expect God to forgive us, we must forgive others. That is what Jesus said.
Are you ready to stand before Jesus, sincere and blameless?
The HISTORICAL JESUS:What he did FOR YOU!
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.“
Compiled by David Terasaka, M.D.
©1996. All Rights Reserved, David Terasaka, M.D.
However, permission is hereby granted to copy and distribute
free of charge for non-commercial purposes only.
Heb 12:2 – “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
In the last few hours of Jesus’ life what did He endure, and what shame did He suffer?
to cause great agony, torment
Latin : ex : out of, from cruciate : cross
“from the cross”
The tone of this presentation can best be summarized in the word “excruciate”, (the root of the word “excruciating”) which refers to something which causes great agony or torment. The Latin roots of the word are :”ex”, meaning from or out of, and “cruciate”, meaning cross. The word “excruciate” comes from the Latin for “from, or out of, the cross”. (Webster’s)
Jesus spent the last hours before the crucifixion at several places in Jerusalem. He started the evening in the Upper Room, in southwest Jerusalem. At the Last Supper, He told the disciples that His body and His blood were to be given for them. (Matt 26: 26-29)
He went outside of the city to the Garden of Gethsemane. He was then arrested and brought back to the to the palace of the High Priest. where He was questioned by Annas, a former High Priest, and Caiaphas, Annas’ son in law.
Afterwards, He was tried by the Sanhedrin, and found to be guilty of blasphemy by proclaiming Himself the Son of God. He was sentenced to the death penalty.
Since only the Romans were able to execute criminals, He was sent to Pontius Pilate at the Antonia Fortress. Pilate, not finding anything wrong, sent Him to King Herod , who returned Him back to Pilate.
Pilate, submitting to the pressure of the crowd, then ordered that Jesus be flogged and crucified. He was finally led out of the city walls to be crucified at Calvary.
THE HEALTH OF JESUS AND DEMANDS OF THE ORDEAL
It is reasonable to assume that Jesus was in good health prior to the ordeal that He faced in the hours before His death. Having been a carpenter and traveling throughout the land during His ministry would have required that He would be in good physical condition.
Before the crucifixion, however, He was forced to walk 2.5 miles over a sleepless night, during which He suffered great anguish through His six trials, was mocked, ridiculed and severely beaten, and was abandoned by His friends and Father. (Edwards)
THE UPPER ROOM OR CENACULUM
The ordeal began in an upper room of a house at what we now call the Last Supper, where Jesus, in giving the first communion, predicted that His body and blood would be given. Matt 26:17-29)
Today in Jerusalem, one can visit the Cenacle or Cenaculum (Latin for dining hall), a room which is built over what is believed to be the site of the Upper Room, (Kollek) which was located on the southwestern aspect of the old city.
“And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
“the Spirit of God ….crushed”
From the upper room, Jesus went outside of the city walls where he spent time in prayer at the Garden of Gethesemane.
The garden has many ancient olive trees today, some of which may have grown from the roots of the trees that were present in Jesus’ time.
(All trees in and around Jerusalem were cut down when the Romans conquered the city in 70 A.D. Olive trees can regenerate from their roots and live for thousands of years.)
The name “Gethesemane”, comes from the Hebrew Gat Shmanim, meaning “oil press”
Since “oil” is used in the Bible to symbolize the Holy Spirit, it may be said that the garden is where “the Spirit of God was crushed”.
It was here that Jesus agonized in prayer over what was to occur. It is significant that this is the only place in the KJV where the word “agony” is mentioned.
The Greek word for agony means to be “engaged in combat”
Jesus agonizes over what He is to go through, feeling that He is at the point of death.
Yet He prays, “Not my will, but thine be done.”
Of medical significance is that Luke mentions Him as having sweat like blood.
The medical term for this, “hemohidrosis” or “hematidrosis” has been seen in patients who have experienced, extreme stress or shock to their systems.
The capillaries around the sweat pores become fragile and leak blood into the sweat.
A case history is recorded in which a young girl who had a fear of air raids in WW1 developed the condition after a gas explosion occurred in the house next door.
Another report mentions a nun who, as she was threatened with death by the swords of the enemy soldiers,
” was so terrified that she bled from every part of her body and died of hemorrhage in the sight of her assailants.”
As a memorial to Jesus’ ordeal, a church which now stands in Gethesemane is known as the Church of the Agony. (also called the Church of the Nations because many nations donated money to its construction.
ABANDONED BY MAN
“Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.”
“Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.”
While in Gethesemane, Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested by the Jews. His disciples all desert Him, even at the expense of running away naked (Mark 14:51-52). He is bound (John 18:12) then brought back to the city to the court of the High Priest, which is located near the Upper room.
ILLEGAL ASPECTS OF THE TRIAL OF JESUS
Following are some of the illegal aspects of the trial of Jesus:
Trials could occur only in the regular meeting places of the Sanhedrin (not in the palace of the High Priest)
Trials could not occur on the eve of the Sabbath or Feast Days or at night.
A sentence of ‘guilty’ might only be pronounced on the day following the trial.
THE ISSUE OF WITNESSES
“One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”
“On the testimony of two or three witnesses a man shall be put to death, but no one shall be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.”
“Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.”
While in the court of the High Priest, He was questioned by Annas (John 18:13) and struck by a soldier (John 18: 22).
He was then brought to Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin who sought to put Jesus to death by the false testimony of many witnesses.
The witnesses brought against Him did not agree.
By the law, no one could be put to death without the agreement of two or three witnesses. Although the witnesses did not agree, He was found guilty of blasphemy when He told them of His identity as the Son of God. He was sentenced to death.
Jesus suffered ridicule from the palace guards, who spat on Him, beat Him and slapped Him on the face. Mark 14:65.) During the trial, Peter denies Him three times.
The proceedings of Jesus’ trial violated many of the laws of His society. Among some of the other broken laws were:
Any arrest could not be made at night.
The time and date of the trial were illegal because it took place at night and on the eve of the Sabbath.
This time precluded any chance for the required adjournment to the next day in the event of a conviction.
The Sanhedrin was without authority to instigate charges.
It was only supposed to investigate charges brought before it. In Jesus’ trial, the court itself formulated the charges.
The charges against Jesus were changed during the trial. He was initially charged with blasphemy based upon His statement that He would be able to destroy and rebuild the Temple of God within three days, as well as His claim to be the Son of God.
When He was brought before Pilate, the charge was that Jesus was a King and did not advocate paying taxes to the Romans.
As stated above, the requirement of two witnesses in agreement to merit the death penalty was not met.
The court did not meet in the regular meeting place of the Sanhedrin, as required by Jewish law.
Christ was not permitted a defense. Under Jewish law, an exhaustive search into the facts presented by the witnesses should have occurred.
The Sanhedrin pronounced the death sentence. Under law, the Sanhedrin were not allowed to convict and put the death sentence into effect. (John 18:31)
Today, one can visit the palace of the High Priest. where one can stand in the midst of the ruins of the courtyard. A model of the structure in Jesus’ time is available for viewing.
Mark 15:15 –
“Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.”
The Sanhedrin met early the next morning and sentenced Him to death. (Matthew 27:1) Because the Jews were not, and the Romans were, able to carry out an execution, Jesus was brought before Pilate.
The charge was now changed to an allegation that Jesus claimed to be King and forbade the nation to pay taxes to Caesar. (Luke 23:5) In spite of all the charges, Pilate finds nothing wrong.
He sends Jesus to Herod. Jesus is speechless before Herod, except to affirm that He is King of the Jews. Herod sends Him back to Pilate. Pilate is unable to convince the crowds of Jesus’ innocence and orders Jesus to be put to death.
Some sources state that it was Roman law that a criminal that was to be crucified had to be flogged first. McDowell) Others believe that Jesus was flogged first by Pilate in the hope of getting Him off with a lighter punishment.
In spite of his efforts, the Jews allow Barabbas to be released and demand that Jesus be crucified, even crying that ,”His blood be on us and on our children!” (Matthew 27:25) Pilate hands Jesus over to be flogged and crucified.
It is at this point that Jesus suffers a severe physical beating. (Edwards) During a flogging, a victim was tied to a post, leaving his back entirely exposed.
The Romans used a whip, called a flagrum or flagellum which consisted of small pieces of bone and metal attached to a number of leather strands. The number of strikes is not recorded in the gospels.
The number of blows in Jewish law was set in Deuteronomy 25:3 at forty, but later reduced to 39 to prevent excessive blows by a counting error.
The victim often died from the beating. (39 hits were believed to bring the criminal to “one from death”.) Roman law did not put any limits on the number of blows given.
During the flogging, the skin was stripped from the back, exposing a bloody mass of muscle and bone
(“hamburger ” : Metherall)
Extreme blood loss occurred from this beating, weakening the victim. perhaps to the point of being unconscious.
ROMAN SOLDIERS MOCK AND BEAT JESUS
Matthew 27:28-30 (The soldiers) stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head.
They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him.
“Hail, king of the Jews!” they said.
They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.
Jesus was then beaten by the Roman soldiers.
In mockery, they dressed Him in what was probably the cloak of a Roman officer, which was colored dark purple or scarlet .(Amplified Bible)
He also wore the crown of thorns.
Unlike the traditional crown which is depicted by an open ring, the actual crown of thorns may have covered the entire scalp.
The thorns may have been 1 to 2 inches long.
The gospels state that the Roman soldiers continued to beat Jesus on the head.
The blows would drive the thorns into the scalp (one of the most vascular areas of the body) and forehead, causing severe bleeding.
THE CROWN OF THORNS AND THE ROBE
“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.”
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
The significance of the scarlet robe and crown of thorns is to emphasize Jesus’ taking the sins of the world upon His body. The Bible describes sin by the color of scarlet (Is 1:18) and that thorns first appeared after the fall, as a sign of the curse.
Thus, the articles that He wore are symbols to show that Jesus took on the sins (and the curse) of the world upon Himself. It is not clear that He wore the crown of thorns on the cross.
Matthew describes that the Romans removed His clothes after the beating, and that they put His own clothes back on Him. (Matt 27:31)
THE SEVERITY OF THE BEATING
“I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.”
“….. Just as there were many who were appalled at him — his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness–“
The severity of the beating is not detailed in the gospels. However, in the book of Isaiah, it suggests that the Romans pulled out His beard. Isaiah 50:8) .
It is also mentions that Jesus was beaten so severely that His form did not look like that of “a son of a man” i.e. that of a human being. The literal translation of the verse reads, “So marred from the form of man was His aspect, that His appearance was not as that of a son of a man.”
People were appalled to look at Him (Isaiah 52:13).
His disfigurement may explain why He was not easily recognized in His post resurrection appearances.
Today, one can visit a site known as the Lithostrotos, traditionally believed to be the floor of the Antonio Fortress. although recent excavations may cast doubt on this theory
The floor is marked for games once played by the Roman soldiers
From the beating, Jesus walked on a path, now known as the Via Dolorosa or the “way of suffering”, to be crucified at Golgotha. The total distance has been estimated at 650 yards.
A narrow street of stone, it was probably surrounded by markets in Jesus’ time. He was led through the crowded streets carrying the crossbar of the cross called a patibulum) across His shoulders.
The crossbar probably weighed between 80 to 110 pounds.
He was surrounded by a guard of Roman soldiers, one of which carried a titulus, a sign which announced His crime of being “the King of the Jews” in Hebrew, Latin and Greek.
On the way, He was unable to carry the cross. Some theorize that he may have fallen while going down the steps of the Antonio Fortress.
A fall with the heavy patibulum on His back may have led to a contusion of the heart, predisposing His heart to rupture on the cross.
Simon of Cyrene (currently North Africa (Tripoli)), who apparently was affected by these events, was summoned to help.
The present Via Dolorosa was marked in the 16th century as the route over which Christ was led to His crucifixion.(Magi) As is the location of Calvary, the true location of the Via Dolorosa is disputed.
Much tradition as to what happened to Jesus is encountered on the Via Dolorosa today. There are 14 stations of ‘events’ that occurred and 9 churches on the way today.
The stations of the cross were established in the 1800’s.
Today, there is one section of the path where one can walk on the stones which were used during Jesus time.
SUFFERING ON THE CROSS
“Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me.”
The crucifixion event is prophesied in several places throughout the Old Testament.
One of the most striking is recorded in
where it says that
“My servant will act wisely (or prosper) .He will be raised and lifted up and greatly exalted.”
In John 3, Jesus talks about His fulfillment of that prophecy when He says:
“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.”
He refers to the events recorded in Numbers 21:6-9.
The Lord had sent a plague of fiery serpents on the people of Israel and they bit the people so that many of the people died. After the people confessed their sin to Moses, the Lord for gave them by having a bronze serpent made. Bronze is a symbol for judgment and the serpent is a symbol of the curse.
Whoever was bitten by a serpent and then looked at the bronze serpent, was saved from death.. These verses are prophecies that point to the crucifixion, in the Jesus would be (lifted up ) on the cross for the judgment of sin, so that whoever believed in Him should not die (an eternal death), but live an eternal life.
II Cor 5 :21 amplifies this point, in that
“He (the Father) made Him who knew no sin (the Son) to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
It is interesting that the sign of Aesculapius which is the symbol of the medical profession today, had its roots from the making of the bronze serpent
Indeed, Jesus is the healer of all! Jesus is led to the place of the skull (Latin Calvary, Aramaic :Golgotha) to be crucified.
The actual location of Calvary is also in dispute.
At the end of the Via Dolorosa, there is a “T intersection”.
If one turns left, we go to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
If one turns to the right, one goes to Gordon’s Calvary.
The Church of the Holy sepulcher has long been believed to be the traditional site of the crucifixion.
Gordon’s Calvary has a possible prophetic reason for being the actual site of the crucifixion .
In Genesis 22, Abraham is tested by God to sacrifice Isaac on the top of a mountain. Realizing that he is acting out a prophecy, that “God Himself will provide a Lamb” , Abraham calls the place of the event “Jehovah Jireh”, meaning “In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.”
If we take this as a prophetic event of Jesus’ death, then Jesus’ died on the high ground of Jerusalem. Gordon’s Calvary is the highest point of Jerusalem, 777 meters above sea level.(Missler: Map from Israel tour book) Today, at Gordon’s Calvary, caves in the rock are situated which give the site the appearance of a skull.
Jesus was then crucified. Crucifixion was a practice that originated with the Persians and was later passed on to the Carthaginians and the Phoenicians.
The Romans perfected it as a method of execution which caused maximal pain and suffering over a period of time. Those crucified included slaves, provincials and the lowest types of criminals. Roman citizens, except perhaps for soldiers who deserted, were not subjected to this treatment.
The crucifixion site “was purposely chosen to be outside the city walls because the Law forbade such within the city walls…for sanitary reasons … the crucified body was sometimes left to rot on the cross and serve as a disgrace, a convincing warning and deterrent to passers by.”
Sometimes, the subject was eaten while alive and still on the cross by wild beasts.
The procedure of crucifixion may be summarized as follows. The patibulum was put on the ground and the victim laid upon it. Nails, about 7 inches long and with a diameter of 1 cm ( roughly 3/8 of an inch) were driven in the wrists .
The points would go into the vicinity of the median nerve, causing shocks of pain to radiate through the arms.
It was possible to place the nails between the bones so that no fractures (or broken bones) occurred.
Studies have shown that nails were probably driven through the small bones of the wrist, since nails in the palms of the hand would not support the weight of a body.
In ancient terminology, the wrist was considered to be part of the hand.
Standing at the crucifixion sites would be upright posts, called stipes, standing about 7 feet high.
In the center of the stipes was a crude seat, called a sedile or sedulum, which served a support for the victim. The patibulum was then lifted on to the stipes.
The feet were then nailed to the stipes. To allow for this, the knees had to be bent and rotated laterally, being left in a very uncomfortable position. The titulus was hung above the victim’s head.
There were several different types of crosses used during crucifixion. In Jesus’ time, it was most likely that the cross used was a T shaped (or tau cross,), not the popular Latin, or t shaped cross which is accepted today.(Lumpkin)
PHYSICAL SUFFERING ON THE CROSS
“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.”
Having suffered from the beatings and flogging, Jesus suffered from severe hypovolemia from the loss of blood. The verses above describe His dehydrated state and loss of His strength.
When the cross was erected upright, there was tremendous strain put on the wrists, arms and shoulders, resulting in a dislocation of the shoulder and elbow joints.
The arms, being held up and outward, held the rib cage in a fixed end inspiratory position which made it extremely difficult to exhale, and impossible to take a full breath. The victim would only be able to take very shallow breaths.
(This may explain why Jesus made very short statements while on the cross).
As time passed, the muscles, from the loss of blood, last of oxygen and the fixed position of the body, would undergo severe cramps and spasmodic contractions
ABANDONED BY GOD — SPIRITUAL DEATH
“About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’–which means, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
With the sin of the world upon Him, Jesus suffered spiritual death (separation from the Father ).
Isaiah 59:2 says that sins cause a separation from God, and that He hides His face from you so that He does not hear. The Father must turn away from His Beloved Son on the cross. For the first time, Jesus does not address God as His Father.
DEATH BY CRUCIFIXION : SLOW SUFFOCATION
Shallowness of breathing causes small areas of lung collapse.
Decreased oxygen and increased carbon dioxide causes acidic conditions in the tissues.
Fluid builds up in the lungs.
Makes situation in step 2 worse.
Heart is stressed and eventually fails.
The slow process of suffering and resulting death during a crucifixion may be summarized as follows:
“…it appears likely that the mechanism of death in crucifixion was suffocation. The chain of events which ultimately led to suffocation are as follows:
With the weight of the body being supported by the sedulum, the arms were pulled upward.
This caused the intercostal and pectoral muscles to be stretched. Furthermore, movement of these muscles was opposed by the weight of the body.
With the muscles of respiration thus stretched, the respiratory bellows became relatively fixed.
As dyspnea developed and pain in the wrists and arms increased, the victim was forced to raise the body off the sedulum, thereby transferring the weight of the body to the feet.
Respirations became easier, but with the weight of the body being exerted on the feet, pain in the feet and legs mounted.
When the pain became unbearable, the victim again slumped down on the sedulum with the weight of the body pulling on the wrists and again stretching the intercostal muscles.
Thus, the victim alternated between lifting his body off the sedulum in order to breathe and slumping down on the sedulum to relieve pain in the feet.
Eventually , he became exhausted or lapsed into unconsciousness so that he could no longer lift his body off the sedulum. In this position, with the respiratory muscles essentially paralyzed, the victim suffocated and died.
(DePasquale and Burch)
Due to the shallow breathing, the victim’s lungs begin to collapse in small areas causing hypoxia and hypercarbia.
A respiratory acidosis, with lack of compensation by the kidneys due to the loss of blood from the numerous beatings, resulted in an increased strain on the heart, which beats faster to compensate.
Fluid builds up in the lungs. . Under the stress of hypoxia and acidosis the heart eventually fails.
There are several different theories on the actual cause of death. One theory states that there was a filling of the pericardium with fluid, which put a fatal strain on the ability of the heart to pump blood.
Another theory states that Jesus died of cardiac rupture.”
The actual cause of Jesus’ death, however, “may have been multifactorial and related primarily to hypovolemic shock, exhaustion asphyxia and perhaps acute heart failure.”(Edwards) A fatal cardiac arrhythmia may have caused the final terminal event.
A LAST DRINK OF WINE VINEGAR
“A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.”
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, `It is finished’. “With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
Having suffered severe blood losses from His numerous beatings and thus in a dehydrated state, Jesus, in one of His final statements, said “I thirst.”
He was offered 2 drinks on the cross. The first, which He refused, was a drugged wine (mixed with myrrh). He chose to face death without a clouded mind. Edersheim writes:
“It was a merciful Jewish practice to give to those led to execution a draught of strong wine mixed with myrrh so as to deaden consciousness”
(Mass Sem 2.9; Bemid. R. 10).
This charitable office was performed at the cost of, if not by, an association of women in Jerusalem (Sanh. 43a). The draught was offered to Jesus when He reached Golgotha.
But having tasted it….He would not drink it. ….He would meet Death, even in his sternest and fiercest mood, and conquer by submitting to the full….(p.880).
The second drink, which He accepts moments before His death, is described as a wine vinegar. Two points are important to note. The drink was given on the “stalk of a hyssop plant”.
Remember that these events occurred at the Feast of the Passover. During this feast, (Exod 12:22) hyssop was used to apply the blood of the Passover lamb to the wooden doorposts of the Jews.
It is interesting the end of this hyssop stalk pointed to the blood of the Perfect Lamb which was applied to the wooden cross for the salvation of all mankind.
In addition, the wine vinegar is a product of fermentation, which is made from grape juice and yeast.
The word literally means “that which is soured” and is related to the Hebrew term for “that which is leavened”. (Holmans) Yeast or leaven, is a Biblical symbol of sin.
When Jesus took this drink, (i.e. a drink which was “leavened”) it is thus symbolic of His taking the sins of the world into His body.
CELEBRATION OF THE OPPOSITION
“Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. Roaring lions tearing their prey open their mouths wide against me.”
While He was on the cross, darkness covered the land (noon to three p.m.).
Jesus, in Luke 22:53, associates those who arrested Him with the power of darkness.
Where were the evil forces while Jesus was on the cross?
The verses above from Psalm 22 seem out of place when first read. There seems to be no mention of “bulls” and “lions” around the cross. The verses, however, have a deeper meaning.
Bashan was an area to the east of the Jordan River which was famous for its fertility. Cattle were raised there which grew to enormous sizes.
The people there worshipped demon spirits (associated with Baal) within the cattle.
In 1 Pet 5:8, Satan is described as “a roaring lion…seeking those who he may devour” These verses are thus suggestive of the spiritual activity of Satan and his demons, celebrating as Jesus was suffering on the cross.
JESUS LAID DOWN HIS LIFE
“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life–only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
“Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit’.”
When he had said this, he breathed his last.
The average time of suffering before death by crucifixion is stated to be about 2-4 days
(Tenney), although there are reported cases where the victims lived for 9 days. (Lipsius) The actual causes of death by crucifixion were multifactorial, one of the most significant would have been the severity of the scourging.
Jesus died a quick physical death (Pilate was surprised that He had died so soon.(Mark 15:44)).
While many of the physical signs preceding death were present, one possibility is that Jesus did not die by physical factors which ended His ability to live, but that He gave up His life of His own accord. His last statement, “Into your hands I commit my Spirit” seems to show that Jesus’ death occurred by giving Himself up.
In John 10, He states that only He has the power to lay down His life. He proved His power over death by His resurrection. Truly, God is the one who has power over life and death
DEATH BY CRUCIFIXION:
HASTENED by the breaking of the legs, so that the victim could not push up to take a good breath.
“The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.”
CONFIRMED by a spear thrust into the right side of the heart.
Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. Death in crucifixion was hastened by the breaking of the legs of the victim. This procedure, called crurifracture, prevented the ability of the victim to take in a good breath. Death would quickly occur from suffocation. In Jesus’ case, He died quickly and did not have His legs broken. Jesus fulfills one of the prophetic requirements of the Passover Lamb, that not a bone shall be broken.
(Exodus 12:46, John 19:36)
To confirm that a victim was dead, the Romans inflicted a spear wound through the right side of the heart. When pierced, a sudden flow of blood and water came Jesus’ body .
The medical significance of the blood and water has been a matter of debate. One theory states that Jesus died of a massive myocardial infarction, in which the heart ruptured
which may have resulted from His falling while carrying the cross.
Another theory states that Jesus’ heart was surrounded by fluid in the pericardium, which constricted the heart and caused death.
The physical stresses of crucifixion may have produced a fatal cardiac arrhythmia.
The stated order of “blood and water” may not necessarily indicate the order of appearance, but rather the relative prominence of each fluid.
In this case, a spear through the right side of the heart would allow the pleural fluid (fluid built up in the lungs) to escape first, followed by a flow of blood from the wall of the right ventricle.(Edwards) The important fact is that the medical evidence supports that Jesus did die a physical death.
The story, of course, does not end here. The greatest event that separates Jesus from all others is the fact that He rose again and lives today. He intercedes for those who follow Him at the right hand of the Father.
APPEARANCE IN HEAVEN
“Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders.”
In eternity, Jesus will bear the marks of His crucifixion. Rev 5:6 suggests that He appears in heaven with the marks as a Lamb “looking as if it had been slain”. We know that when He appeared to Thomas that He bore the scars of the nails and the spear in His side.
It is also worth considering reasons as to why He was not immediately recognized after His resurrection. In John 21:12, it is stated that the disciples did “not dare to ask Him His identity, because they knew that it was the Lord.”
It is possible that His resurrection body still has the marks of His beatings. “The body of His glorification will be the body of His humiliation.”
Are we ready to meet Him? What have we done with what He has given to us?. Today, He encourages us to consider the cost of the cross and to apply it to our own lives.
FOLLOWING JESUS CHRIST
Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
When He was on earth, Jesus stated that , “If any man would come after me, let him take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
As we have seen, in Jesus’ time it meant going to your death, giving up and separating yourself from all that you had…….your rights, your friends, your body and blood and even your “god”, to follow Him.
We are challenged by the example of Simon of Cyrene.
Scripture mentions Him as being the father of Alexander and Rufus.(Mark 15:21) Rufus (“a choice man in the Lord”) and Simon’s wife were both addressed by Paul in his letter to the Roman church. (Romans 16:13) Here was a man, who indeed carried the cross…and made an impact for Christ in eternity.
What commitment are you willing to make to Him now?
The Bible, God’s Word (II Timothy 3:16-17), relates how God once had a personal relationship with man. God would talk and relate to man, just as you might relate to your best friend.
God created man to give him a meaningful and purposeful life.
Man chose to go his own way by disobeying God. (This applies to all men as in Romans 3:23).
This disobedience, called sin, caused a break in the relationship between man and God.
If a man casually seeks a relationship with God by his own efforts (religion), he will find nothing, because sin has broken the communication. (Isaiah 59:2)
Christianity is the story of God sacrificing His Son to restore a relationship that was broken.
As stated in the above text, Jesus gave up His life to pay for the sins of mankind and taking the punishment for the sin upon Himself.
Because He gave His life on the cross, any one who believes in Him will have a restoration of a personal relationship with God.
Jesus Himself claimed to be the only way to God (John 14:6) and only by the knowledge of God through Jesus Christ can man have a meaningful and purposeful life.(John 10:10)
NOW, I would like to deal with a large HERESY AMONG SKEPTICS CALLED:
“THE JESUS SEMINAR”
The Jesus Seminar was originally formed in 1985 under the sponsorship of the Westar Institute to “renew the quest of the historical Jesus.”
Thirty scholars participated in the first meeting and approximately 200 people now call themselves “fellows.”
The Seminar meets twice a year to debate technical papers that have been prepared and circulated in advance. Each paper typically focuses on the dissection of Biblical passages.
At the close of each debate on each paper, the Seminar fellows use colored beads to vote on the “authenticity of Jesus’ words or deeds” covered by the dissected scripture.
The goal of the Jesus Seminar is supposedly to “separate historical fact from mythology.” This goal was originally stated in founder Robert Funk’s opening address to the first meeting of 30 “scholars” in Berkeley, California (March 1985):
We are about to embark on a momentous enterprise. We are going to inquire simply, rigorously after the voice of Jesus, after what he really said.
In this process, we will be asking a question that borders the sacred, that even abuts blasphemy, for many in our society. As a consequence, the course we shall follow may prove hazardous. We may well provoke hostility.
But we will set out, in spite of the dangers, because we are professionals and because the issue of Jesus is there to be faced, much as Mt. Everest confronts the team of climbers.
Since that first meeting in 1985, the Seminar has rejected the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, the virgin birth, all of the miracles found in the Gospel accounts, and over 80% of the teachings normally attributed to Jesus.
All of these Biblical records have been rejected because Seminar fellows have determined that they are merely legendary accretions with no historical foundation.
For example, only two words of the Lord’s Prayer survive as authentic: “Our Father.”
The Jesus Seminar begins all of its debates with a shared, yet concealed, presupposition – that anything outside the realm of natural explanation can never be backed by historical evidence.
Therefore, it seems no papers ever follow the stated goal of “separating historical fact from mythology.”
Rather, they avoid the historical evidence, and focus instead on the presupposed problems with anything falling outside a naturalistic or materialistic explanation.
To illustrate, let’s review the basis for the Seminar’s rejection of the Gospel miracles and resurrection of Jesus.
In a nutshell, they hold that it’s impossible for the Gospels to be historically accurate, because they record things that simply can’t happen, like people walking on water, food multiplying, and people being raised from the dead.
Since we live in a closed system of natural order, and God (if there is a God) does not participate in that system, then miracles simply can’t happen, and thus, the New Testament accounts must be fabrications.
Therefore, the general statement and presupposition of the Jesus Seminar is that the New Testament accounts of Jesus (especially the Gospels) are not historical, and thus, not a credible source of information for the true historical Jesus.
Of course, this is not scholarly evaluation of the historical evidence – this is strict adherence to the philosophy of naturalism.
The Jesus Seminar is viewed by the publishing media and general public as a group of refreshing scholars that base their “new findings” of Jesus on scientific and historical analysis.
Therefore, the public has been made to feel comfortable with the following 21st Century “facts”:
The resurrection of Jesus didn’t really happen;
the miracles of Jesus are myths;
there is no authentic messianic prophecy in the Bible;
many accounts of Jesus are merely legends written long after He walked the earth;
the accounts of Jesus were not written by eyewitnesses to the events; and the foundation of the Christian faith cannot be trusted.
If I wanted to defame what I did not want to believe I’d do what they do: Invent false evidence and ridicule it’s followers.
Please, be very careful, and check out the evidence for yourself!
The Jesus Seminar is very misguided and very misleading. They have not concluded that the New Testament accounts of Jesus are inaccurate or historically unfounded –
rather, this was their presupposed conclusion from the very start. The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of the Christian faith. In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he declares:
“And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.”
(1 Corinthians 15:14-15).
“And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”
(1 Corinthians 15:17)
As it turns out, no legitimate scholar or religion today denies that Jesus was a historical figure who walked the earth approximately 2,000 years ago, was a great teacher and miracle worker, and who died on a cross for the crime of blasphemy.
Therefore, the only legitimate dispute is whether Jesus was the Son of God who was resurrected from the dead after His crucifixion.
The resurrection of Jesus is challenged today on evidentiary grounds. Therefore, to be fair, the evidence should be judged like any other historical event.
Based on standard rules of evidence, consistent eye-witness testimony from multiple credible witnesses would be considered the strongest form of evidence available to a litigant.
Therefore, if we find such testimony present in credible accounts of the historical record of Christ’s resurrection, we have satisfied a major evidentiary challenge under traditional rules.
In fact, we do have multiple eye-witness testimonies regarding the resurrection of Jesus.
In 1 Corinthians 15:3-6,
Paul established the following:
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
And that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.”
Manuscript studies indicate that this was a very early creed of the Christian faith, written within a few years after the death of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, it’s dramatic that Paul ends the passage with “most of whom are still living.” Paul was inviting people to check out the facts. He wouldn’t have included a statement like that if he was trying to hide something like a conspiracy, hoax, myth or legend.
Resurrection of Jesus:
More Eye-witness Accounts
The resurrection of Jesus was also declared in numerous other accounts, including the appearance of Jesus to Mary Magdalene (John 20:10-18),
to other women (Matthew 28:8-10),
to Cleopas and his companion (Luke 24:13-32),
to eleven disciples and others (Luke 24:33-49),
to ten apostles and others (excluding Thomas) (John 20:19-23),
to the apostles (including Thomas) (John 20:26-30),
to seven apostles (John 21:1-14),
to the disciples (Matthew 28:16-20),
and to the apostles on the Mount of Olives (Luke 24:50-52 and Acts 1:4-9).
The ultimate test of credibility for these eye-witnesses was that many of them faced martyrdom for their eye-witness testimony.
This is dramatic!
These witnesses knew the truth. What could they possibly gain by dying for a known lie?
The evidence speaks for itself, these weren’t just religious faithful dying for a religious belief, these were followers of Jesus Christ dying for a historical event –
His resurrection that established Him as the Son of God.
Although the Christian faith is not based purely on evidence, it is definitely supported by MUCH evidence.
Faith is not about turning off the brain and merely relying on the heart, or squashing reason in favor of emotion.
No, Christian faith is about seeking and knowing Jesus Christ with all facets of the human character.
It’s about loving Him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.
Skeptics like to compare what “false religions” like Catholicism and Islam have committed in the past & present against humanity as the SINNING EXAMPLE OF OUR GREAT GOD’S WILL ON EARTH…
BUT I HAVE NEWS FOR YOU-THEY IN NO WAY REPRESENT ME OR MY GOD,SO I WILL IN NO WAY EXCEPT THAT AS EVIDENCE AGAINST GOD SINCE IT IS “FALSE” EVIDENCE PLANTED BY “FALSE CONVERT’S
TO FALSE RELIGION!
GOD’S RECORD IS CLEAN…RELIGION’S RECORD, INCLUDING ATHEISM FOR IT IS A BLOODY, COMDEMNED MESS ON THE REFUGE HEAP OF HUMAN FAILURES!